OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine the specificity of two different methods for assessing change in aortic (AR), mitral (MR) and tricuspid (TR) valvular regurgitation. BACKGROUND: Echocardiographic imaging with Doppler is the standard noninvasive diagnostic tool for assessing valvular structure and function. Change can be assessed using either independent evaluations (serial) or using a side-by-side comparison. METHODS: Subjects were from the placebo arm of a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. Three echocardiograms over 10 months were performed. An initial and three-month echocardiogram were read as independent groups, blinded to all parameters except sequence. The initial and 10-month echocardiograms were read side-by-side, blinded to all parameters including sequence. RESULTS: Two hundred nineteen predominantly healthy, obese, white, middle-aged women had initial and three-month echocardiograms (acquisition interval 105 ± 28 days) evaluated by the serial method (mean 167 ± 61 days between interpretations). The same subjects had the initial and 10-month studies (acquisition interval 303 ± 27 days) compared side-by-side. The specificity of the serial versus side-by-side method for determining change in MR grade was 55.8% versus 93.2% (p < 0.001); TR: 63.8% versus 97.6% (p < 0.001) and AR: 93.7% versus 97.6 (p = 0.08). Notably, most of the change occurred in a range (none versus physiologic/mild) that has limited clinical significance. Furthermore, the percentage of echocardiograms interpreted as nonevaluable was lower with the side-by-side method for MR (5.0% vs. 16.0%, p = 0.06), TR (4.6% vs. 15.5%, p < 0.001) and AR (4.1% vs. 12.3%, p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: The side-by-side method of assessing change in valvular regurgitation appears to be the more reliable method with a higher specificity and minimal data loss.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine